March 10, 2022 5 min read
"Your hair care bars are highly recommended, but I have straight hair. Can I use them?"
TLDR; Yes, you can use our bars on straight hair. Your hair will be healthier and it won't create curl where there isn't any already. You'll love them :)
Labeling our solid hair care as "Made for Curly Hair" is NOT exclusive. It highlights the inclusion of a huge portion of the population that are completely overlooked in the solid hair care market.
Most companies who have a "curly hair" option pigeon hole it into serving ONE type of curly hair: coarse, dense, dry, frizzy curly hair. The star ingredients are usually heavy emollients like cocoa butter and shea butter.
Curly hair ranges in needs just as much as our lovely straight haired counterparts, and all the different beautiful texture patterns in between. I am proud to offer a wide range of solid shampoos and conditioners that address the whole range of curly-haired individuals, but can absolutely be used on straight hair as well.
First, let's talk about what makes your hair curly or straight.
As with most things sciency, there are many factors at play and debate as to which of these are most important. These are the three main factors:
Aside from the hair follicle shape, which does not change, the chemical bonds and growth patterns can be nurtured to bring out your natural wave or curl pattern, but using products formulated with the special needs of curly hair in mind won't cause your hair to become curly. You will benefit from the hair-healthy formulas regardless of texture.
*Warning! If you do have a natural wave pattern to your hair you have been fighting, you may start to love it and want to learn how to wear it naturally ;)
Now, let's talk about what it means to say "formulated for curly hair".
When it comes to picking out a product for curly hair, the first thing I look for is what is NOT in the product. Typically, curly hair is going to want to stay away from sulfates and silicones.
Sulfates are harsh cleansers that can strip our hair leaving it feeling dry or damaged. Sodium laurel sulfate is the biggest offender (IMHO). This particular cleanser is derived from petroleum, extremely harsh, and has molecules so small they can irritate the scalp. The scalp is just as important to keep healthy as your hair, so I consider scalp health in all of our formulations.
Silicones are used often in conditioners and leave-in products. I'm not gonna lie, they can make your hair look awesome. They provide a thin film around your hair strands that smooth frizz and lock in moisture. However, they can build up over time and prevent your strands from receiving the moisture they need as you continue to wash and condition. Non water-soluable silicones need harsh cleansers to wash out of your hair, and since we are staying away from harsh cleansers (i.e. sulfates), this can become a problem. There are definitely ways you can use silicones and not damage your hair, but I see silicones as a substitue for working on the overall health of your hair. It's a dependency that you don't necessarily need to develop and can instead focus on using quality, nourishing hair care.
So, what do we use instead?
Hair care for curly hair still needs to be able to cleanse well and provide protection to the strands while smoothing frizz and locking in moisture. We replace those two offenders above with plant-based alternatives.
Our cleansers are mild, coconut-derived and work wonders to clean your scalp and remove buildup from leave-in products and minerals. The molecule size of our cleansers is large, so while they do their job on the surface, they don't penetrate the skin on your scalp causing irritation.
In place of silicones, we use either broccoli seed oil or medium chain fatty acids (Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride) derived from coconuts. The broccoli seed oil can be found in our thicker conditioners; the Aqua Aura Solid Conditioner, the Aqua Aura Curl Cream and the Spirit Aura Solid Conditioner. This oil mimics silicones by providing a silky slip and protective layer around your strands to lock in moisture and smooth frizz, but washes out every time you wash your hair. The Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride oils are found in our lighter-weight conditioners; the Silver Aura Solid Conditioner, the Apple Aura Solid Conditioner and the Angel Aura Solid Conditioner. This acts just like the broccoli seed oil, but is better suited for finer hair.
But wait, we add even more!
I've talked a little bit about what makes a conditioner a conditioner in What is Solid Shampoo and Conditioner?, but to recap- a true conditioner is an ingredient with a positve ionic charge (cationic) that will adsorb (lay along the hair shaft to help the cuticles all lay flat) to our negatively charged hair strands.
Cationic ingredients are easy enough to use in a conditioner recipe, be it solid or emulsified cream (what comes in a bottle). But with shampoos, adding in a postively charged ingredient to a liquid emulsion is very difficult. That's why most traditional liquid shampoos don't do much to help detangle your hair. You can't lather up your hair and then run your fingers through.
But with our solid shampoos, I can add conditioning ingredients with no problem! All of our shampoo bars have some level of conditioning ingredients added alongside the mild, coconut-derived cleansers. This extra ingredient not only allows you to finger comb your hair during the cleansing phase, it protects your hair from the friction of cleansing.
And the conditioners?
We don't use heavy emollients like cocoa butter or shea butter in our solid conditioners. With our star conditioning ingredient, behentrimonium methosulfate (which is derived from the cazola plant) our Aqua Aura and Spirit Aura Conditioners give a thick, nourishing conditioner without weighing your hair down.
We offer lightweight solid conditioners that offer the same extras needed for healthy curls. The Apple Aura and Angel Aura conditioners are light, but cater to the protective needs of your finer, lower density curls.
How do you choose if you have straight hair?
It's simple! You can read through our How to Choose Series: Shampoo or Conditioner for more details. But, to point you in the right direction, there's three categories to choose from.
If your scalp is sensitive, or you have any scalp issues, check out the Silver Aura Shampoo and Conditioner either for your main duo or to use every now and again to keep problems in check (I have an article about that, too).
You can always email me for personalized help as well :)
Thanks for reading!
Alchemist and Owner
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